Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

THL Title Text
A Survey of Bonpo Monasteries
by Dondrup Lhagyal, Phuntso Tsering Sharyul, Tsering Thar, Charles Ramble and Marietta Kind
Edited by Samten G. Karmay and Yasuhiko Nagano
National Museum of Ethnology and THL
Reproduced with permission from the authors
under the THL Digital Text License.

rNga khog

(179) gDong li Monastery

1. Name

The monastery’s full name is gDong li sMin grol bsam gtan dar rgyas gling.

2. Location

The monastery is located 20 km east of the county seat. The monastery lies on a mountain ridge (which is why it is known as gDong li, gDong meaning “ridge”) between Drel lung and So mang valleys on the north bank of rNga chu river in rNga khog.

3. History

The monastery was founded by bsTan pa lhun grub (1646-1779) in the Fire-Rat year of the 12th Rab byung (1696). Following is a list of the successive masters of the monastery:

  1. bsTan pa lhun grub (1646-1779)
  2. Tshul khrims rgyal mtshan (1712-1783)
  3. Rin chen lhun grub (1766-1841)
  4. bsTan pa rab rgyas (1843-1927)
  5. Ngag dbang blo gros phyogs las rnam rgyal (1930-1990)
  6. sKal bzang shes rab rgya mtsho alias bsTan pa rab rgyas, the present master

4. Hierarchical system

  • one mkhan po
  • one bla ma
  • one dbu mdzad
  • one dge skos
  • one rgan pa (=gnyer ba)
  • one mchod dpon
  • one gsol ka ba
  • one lha gnyer

The incumbents are appointed (including the mkhan po) by Tshul chen and the khri pa of rTogs ldan Monastery (No.178) on the 20th of 12th month every two years with the exception of the dbu mdzad whose term is not fixed. As it is a branch of rTogs ldan, there is one bla ma representing rTogs ldan Monastery.

5. Current number of monks

There are altogether fifty-seven novices and ordained monks at the monastery.

6. Current education

There are no organized classes. The young novices are trained by the elder monks.

7. Educational exchange

The novices go to rTogs ldan to receive the preliminary (sngon ’gro) teachings in the 4th month, as well as for other teachings and their ordination.

8 / 9. Rituals

  • 1st month: sMon lam from the 7th to the 17th day, including ritual cycle of Ma rgyud, the ritual of Rig ’dzin bon skor, Klong rgyas cho ga and atonement rite of dPal ldan lha mo;
  • 3rd month: Guru sidhi from the 10th to the 16th day;
  • 4th month: the festival of the pig month (phag zla’i dus mchod) for thirteen days starting on the 22nd day of the 4th month with the Ma rgyud tshogs ’khor for three days and Klong rgyas sgrub pa for ten days;
  • 6th month: the observance of the summer fast (dbyar gnas) from the 15th day of the 6th month to the 30th day of the 7th month;
  • 12th month: Klong rgyas from the 13th to the 16th day and the dgu gtor rite from the 27th to 29th day.

11. Income and expenses

The monastery has no regular Sources of income and depends on offerings from its followers.

12. Local community

The local lay community consists of five villages: dGe li with twenty-three families, gDong mgo ra with twenty-one families, rTsang tsa with one family, dGon pa ra with twenty-one families and gDong li with one family.

13. Local festivals

The la btsas at the top of the mountain behind the monastery is called Nag ’jar sgang. It is dedicated to the local deity bDud mgon dgra lha’i rgyal bo. The la btsas was constructed in accordance with instructions given by gDong li bsTan pa dar rgyas, the third master of the gDong li lineage. The renewal ceremony of the la btsas by the monks takes place on the day following the end of the dbyar gnas fast (30th day of the 7th month). There is another la btsas called Brag dmar nor bu lha rtse located 3 km east of the monastery on a mountain at a site called Tsher khog. It was built following the advice given by gDong li bsTan pa lhun grub. The spirit of the mountain is propitiated by both monks and lay people although the date of its propitiation is not fixed.

14. Occupation of the local people

Farming and trade


(1) Interviews

In autumn 1998 with Ri kho bSod nam rig ’dzin (b.1942), the head of the monastery’s administrative committee

(2) Texts
  1. rNga khul rnga ba rdzong gi gdong li dgon gyi lo rgyus mdor bsdus in rNga ba khul gyi dgon pa’i lo rgyus, published by the Buddhist Association of rNga ba Prefecture and Religion Bureau of the rNga ba Prefecture, MS, pp.78-79

Note Citation for Page

Dondrup Lhagyal, Phuntso Tsering Sharyul, Tsering Thar, Charles Ramble, and Marietta Kind, A Survey of Bonpo Monasteries and Temples in Tibet and the Himalaya (Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology, 2003), .

Bibliographic Citation

Dondrup Lhagyal, Phuntso Tsering Sharyul, Tsering Thar, Charles Ramble, and Marietta Kind. A Survey of Bonpo Monasteries and Temples in Tibet and the Himalaya. Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology, 2003.